Gary Vaynerchuk, a self educated new media, social media and wine expert has established quite a following online. He’s also making a decent living from his efforts. If he were in old media, he would have needed the obligatory “proper education” and would have spent years spent waiting his turn to take the lead.
If you wanted to improve broadband access in Washington DC, how would you go about it? In the case of the NTIA (a the bureaucratic body responsible for dispersing internet stimulus money), you order a very expensive map and build nothing.
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded more than $6 million in grants to fund broadband mapping and planning projects, including $1.5 million for the District of Columbia, on Oct. 26.
The states of New York and Arkansas also received grants from NTIA.
The grants— awarded under NTIA’s State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — are meant to increase access to broadband communications networks through better data collection and planning.
The three new awards follow four other grants, totaling more than $6.8 million, issued under the data and development program on Oct. 5. Recipients then included California, Indiana, North Carolina, and Vermont.
NTIA expects to continue grant notifications through the fall.
“NTIA will continue to provide guidance to applicants where necessary to help them improve their proposed projects, so that all states and territories can soon participate in this initiative,” said NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling.
A $1.5 million broadband map of a dense urban area? This is ridiculous. I dare say that there is not a single address in Washington DC that would not have at least some level of DSL service available if the resident wants to order it. If NTIA must have an address by address map, how about putting a project on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to verify DSL availability via the web for a penny or two each. Just have them go to the local providers web site and key in each address. That might take $10,000 tops. You could deploy a bunch of broadband somewhere it isn’t with the remaining $1.499 million. Or better yet, you could use that money to retire a big chunk of the ballooning debt that is taking available credit away from industry. After all it’s private industry that actually builds broadband.
I keep reading that WiMax is a fringe technology that will surely die in the shadow of LTE. Apparently, US mobile WiMax carrier Clearwire isn’t listening. While the big, authoritative talk coming from the LTE camp’s minions in the blogosphere make it sound like Clearwire’s technology does not work, there are plenty of users whose experience indicate otherwise. In fact, if you compare raw carrying capacity, Clearwire curently has the rights to a much broader swath of spectrum than any of its LTE based competitors. That means if a speed race evolves in the wireless space, Clearwire should be the winner. Then there’s the technology itself. While LTE is in the testing phase the current version of WiMax is mature. In fact, by the time LTE is out of the test phase, second generation WiMax could be on its way. Plus, if you want 4G service today, WiMax is the only game in town. I’m not putting down, LTE. When it’s actually ready, I’ll give it an equally objective review.
With the new service Chicago and Dallas Fort Worth DSL and cable users will have a new competitive option to existing service. It will be interesting to see if a third option for those users is enough to start a price war. In the mobile space, this new pipe is a game changer. Initially, users will find themselves limited to access via traditional laptops, netbooks and a very pricey new hand held device. In 2010, we’ll see new mobile devices entering the market that will signal the end of traditional cell service by enabling enabling VoIP as a feature on any device rather than the primary function.
For the Third Pipe readers that are lucky enough to be in Clearwire’s coverage area, our new sponsor Tucanae Services is accepting reservations for Clearwire service to be activated after November 1. Look for Tucanae’s ad here after the launch date.
“You wouldn’t believe how badly they treated her,” an insider friend told me of Sarah Palin not too long ago. I assumed this person meant the Republican establishment. One can only imagine what they’ve been up to.
So Thursday night the former Alaska governor posted the following on her Facebook page :
The votes of every member of Congress affect every American, so it’s important for all of us to pay attention to this important Congressional campaign in upstate New York. I am very pleased to announce my support for Doug Hoffman in his fight to be the next Representative from New York’s 23rd Congressional district. It’s my honor to endorse Doug and to do what I can to help him win, including having my political action committee, SarahPAC, donate to his campaign the maximum contribution allowed by law.
Our nation is at a crossroads, and this is once again a “time for choosing.”
Palin has been sending a couple messages recently. First, she has, since stepping down as governor, started to communicate with the people not through the press but around the press. In other words, she’s speaking directly to the people through social media. She has had a couple well-timed and well-placed op-eds that have helped define policy arguments. However, most of the time she’s talked to the people via social media. (It should be noted that she’s been silent on Twiiter for some time — something I hope she’ll change soon.) This has had the benefit of letting the press know that she does not need them. Rather than go the Obama route and deny what is perceived as the one “enemy” to her aims, Sarah denies nearly everyone. And why not? The press trashed her with risible lies. Why give a dying breed ratings when she can reach the people herself?
Set aside whether you love of hate Palin. She does not seem to affect people any other way. The key is the delivery vehicle. Total news cycle bypass. It has also permitted the former governor to tap into a huge funding base. Long term –
Whither then do things go? Well we are already seeing it. The news weeklies are almost gone. The cycle is too long to be relevant. We are also seeing the effect in the major dailies as well. Any winners? I can think of one class — think tanks. Organizations like Cato and Brookings. The voter might have received the latest missive from the politician. But…. the internet has fostered the idea of fact checking in much of the public. However most do not have the time to do the data mining to validate the concepts. Hence the think tanks have an opportunity if the democratize^ their content relevant to current events.
Its the classic story of supply chain collapse. Most of America is already used to the idea of not reading a pulp paper. So do us all a favor there MSM — die.
^ As is typical, much of the content provided by think tanks are couched in the language of the Washington Beltway. To make such content palpable to rank and file Americans a serious scrubbing effort needs to occur.
The rules codify four old principles and introduce two new ones. Broadband providers must not block users from sending legal content on the net. They must let users run the applications and services they like and connect whatever devices they care to. And providers must not harm competition among ISPs or online services. The new principles require that broadband providers not discriminate against content services (i.e. block Skype because it competes with an ISPs voice service) and that they disclose to users and the feds how they manage their networks.
The rules would also explicitly extend beyond so-called wireline providers such as DSL and cable and apply to wireless internet services, such as 3G, satellite and WiMax. Providers would have leeway to shape or throttle traffic for network management purposes or to help police or “homeland security.”
The full rendering is here.
Couple of observations/effects now that this have been issued –
Oddly the Comcasts of the world don’t need to be left out of this game. They could switch over what they currently carve out of their baseband to broadband and play the same game with the providers they already have.
In many ways the edges are going to be a new game. A great deal more diversity in product selection is on the horizon.